Coinbase’s first investment, Compound, earns you interest on crypto – TechCrunch

Compound wants to let you borrow cryptocurrency, or lend it and earn an interest rate. Most cryptocurrency is shoved in a wallet or metaphorically hidden under a mattress, failing to generate interest the way traditionally banked assets do. But Compound wants to create liquid money markets for cryptocurrency by algorithmically setting interest rates, and letting you gamble by borrowing and then short-selling coins you think will sink. It plans to launch its first five for Ether, a stable coin, and a few others, by October.
Today, Compound is announcing some ridiculously powerful allies for that quest. It’s just become the first-ever investment by crypto exchange juggernaut Coinbase’s new venture fund. It’s part of an $8.2 million seed round led by top-tier VC Andreessen Horowitz, crypto hedge fund Polychain Capital and Bain Capital Ventures — the startup arm of the big investment bank.
While right now Compound deals in cryptocurrency through the Ethereum blockchain, co-founder and CEO Robert Leshner says that eventually he wants to carry tokenized versions of real-world assets like the dollar, yen, euro or Google stock. That’s because Leshner tells me “My thesis is that almost every crypto asset is bullshit and not worth anything.”
How to get Compound interest on your crypto
Here’s how Compound tells me it’s going to work. It’s an “overnight” market that permits super-short-term lending. While it’s not a bank, it is centralized, so you loan to and borrow from it directly instead of through peers, alleviating you from negotiation. If you loan, you can earn interest. If you borrow, you have to put up 100 percent of the value of your borrow in an asset Compound supports. If prices fluctuate and your borrow becomes worth more than your collateral, some of your collateral is liquidated through a repo agreement so they’re equal.

To set the interest rate, Compound acts kind of like the Fed. It analyzes supply and demand for a particular crypto asset to set a fluctuating interest rate that adjusts as market conditions change. You’ll earn that on what you lend constantly, and can pull out your assets at any time with just a 15-second lag. You’ll pay that rate when you borrow. And Compound takes a 10 percent cut of what lenders earn in interest. For crypto-haters, it offers a way to short coins you’re convinced are doomed.
“Eventually our goal is to hand-off responsibility [for setting the interest rate] to the community. In the short-term we’re forced to be responsible. Long-term we want the community to elect the Fed,” says Leshner. If it gets the interest rate wrong, an influx of lenders or borrowers will drive it back to where it’s supposed to be. Compound already has a user interface prototyped internally, and it looked slick and solid to me.
“We think it’s a game changer. Ninety percent of assets are sitting in people’s cold storage, or wallets, or exchanges. They aren’t being used or traded,” says Leshner. Compound could let people interact with crypto in a whole new way.
The Compound creation story
Compound is actually the third company Leshner and his co-founder and CTO Geoff Hayes have started together. They’ve been teamed up for 11 years since going to college at UPenn. One of their last companies, Britches, created an index of CPG inventory at local stores and eventually got acquired by Postmates. But before that Leshner got into the banking and wealth management business, becoming a certified public accountant. A true economics nerd, he’s the chair of the SF bond oversight committee, and got into crypto five years ago.

Compound co-founder and CEO Robert Leshner

Sitting on coins, Leshner wondered, “Why can’t I realize the time value of the cryptocurrency I possess?” Compound was born in mid-2017, and came out of stealth in January.
Now with $8.2 million in funding that also came from Transmedia Capital, Compound Ventures, Abstract Ventures and Danhua Capital, Compound is pushing to build out its product and partnerships, and “hire like crazy” beyond its seven current team members based in San Francisco’s Mission District. Partners will be crucial to solve the chicken-and-egg problem of getting its first lenders and borrowers. “We are planning to launch with great partners — token projects, hedge funds and dedicated users,” says Leshner. Having hedge funds like Polychain should help.
“We shunned an ICO. We said, ‘let’s raise venture capital.’ I’m a very skeptical person and I think most ICOs are illegal,” Leshner notes. The round was just about to close when Coinbase announced Coinbase Ventures. So Leshner fired off an email asking if it wanted to join. “In 12 hours they researched us, met our team, diligenced it and evaluated it more than almost any investor had to date,” Leshner recalls. Asked if there’s any conflict of interest given Coinbase’s grand ambitions, he said, “They’re probably our favorite company in the world. I hope they survive for 100 years. It’s too early to tell they overlap.”
Conquering the money markets
There are other crypto lending platforms, but none quite like Compound. Centralized exchanges like Bitfinex and Poloniex let people trade on margin and speculate more aggressively. But they’re off-chain, while Leshner says Compound is on-chain, transparent and can be built on top of. That could make it a more critical piece of the blockchain finance stack. There’s also a risk of these exchanges getting hacked and your coins getting stolen.
Meanwhile, there are plenty of peer-to-peer crypto lending protocols on the Ethereum blockchain, like ETHLend and Dharma. But interest rates, no need for slow matching, flexibility for withdrawing money and dealing with a centralized party could attract users to Compound.
Still, the biggest looming threat for Compound is regulation. But to date, the SEC and regulators have focused on ICOs and how people fundraise, not on what people are building. People aren’t filing lawsuits against actual products. “All the operations have flown beneath the radar and I think that’s going to change in the next 12 months,” Leshner predicts. How exactly they’ll treat Compound is up in the air.
One source in the crypto hedge fund space told me about forthcoming regulation: “You’re either going to get annihilated and have to disgorge profits or dissolve. Or you pay a fine and you’re among the first legal funds in the space. This is the gamble you take before asset classes get baptized.” As Leshner confirmed, “That’s the number one risk, period.”
Money markets are just one piece of the financial infrastructure puzzle that still needs to emerge around blockchain. Custodians, auditors, administrators and banks are still largely missing. When those get hammered out to make the space safer, the big money hedge funds and investment banks could join in. For Compound, getting the logistics right will require some serious legal ballet.
Yet Leshner is happy to dream big despite all of the crypto world’s volatility. He concludes, “We want to be like Black Rock with a trillion under management, and we want to have 25 employees when we do that. They probably have [tens of thousands] of employees. Our goal is to be like them with a skeleton team.”

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The SEC created its own scammy ICO to teach investors a lesson

In its latest effort to fend off cryptocurrency scams, the Securities and Exchange Commission launched its own fake initial coin offering website today called the Howey Coin to warn people against fraudulent cryptocurrencies. The name is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the Howey Test that the SEC uses to determine whether an investment is a security, which the Commission would therefore have legal jurisdiction over.

The SEC set up a fake ICO website that takes people to an informational page about the dangers of shitcoins when you hit the “buy coins now” button. Nothing like teaching people by owning them.
— Ryan Mac (@RMac18)

Click ‘Buy Coins Now’ on the Howey Coins site and you’ll be redirected to an SEC page that states: “We created the bogus site as an educational tool to alert investors to possible fraud involving digital assets like crypto-currencies and coin offerings.” The SEC uses the page to highlight red flags that customers should watch out for, including a promise of high returns (which indicates high risks), celebrity endorsements, and even false claimes that an ICO is SEC-compliant.
It’s an elaborate stunt — the Howey Coin site even includes a fake white paper, which digital coins usually include to give more information about the particular currency and its underlying technologies. And the SEC went as far as creating fake Twitter accounts for each of the “celebrities” that endorsed the Howey Coin. All in all, it’s a pretty good fake — if it were real, the page would have likely convinced at least a few unwitting investors to sink their money into Howey Coin.

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A comprehensive timeline of the Larry Nassar case

Key dates show former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State trainer’s lengthy campaign of sexual abuse, resulting in trial and MSU’s $500M settlement to survivors
For decades, Larry Nassar was entrusted with the care of young athletes, notably as a trainer with USA Gymnastics (USAG) and Michigan State University (MSU). Now, a growing list of women have come forward with graphic accounts alleging he violated that trust by sexually abusing them under the guise of medical treatment. Nassar, who attended the Summer Olympics with USA Gymnastics from 1996 through 2008, has already been found guilty of possession of child pornography and criminal sexual assault, with a civil suit still pending. On Wednesday, Michigan State agreed to pay $500 million to survivors of Nassar’s abuse.
The facade of decency surrounding Nassar, one maintained in part by institutions like USAG and MSU, which missed or outright disregarded multiple opportunities to investigate claims of misconduct, began to fall apart in late 2016 when the Indianapolis Star published a piece on USAG’s mishandling of allegations of sexual abuse by coaches.
In the months that followed, more than 140 women, including prominent Olympic medal-winning gymnasts such as Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Simone Biles, would share harrowing accounts describing abuse, or file lawsuits against Nassar and the institutions that they say enabled him for so many years.
Below is a timeline of key dates from Nassar’s career with USAG and MSU, the allegations against him, the accounts of alleged abuse shared by prominent athletes, and the ongoing court cases. We’ve used the real names of victims who have identified themselves.
This timeline will be updated with new developments and as more information becomes available.

Larry Nassar joins the medical staff of USA Gymnastics as an athletic trainer.


Nassar begins working as a volunteer trainer with youth gymnastics coach John Geddert in Michigan.


While still a medical student at Michigan State, Nassar assaults a 12-year-old girl under the guise of medical research, according to a lawsuit joined by the woman in 2017. The alleged assaults took place at a gymnastics facility near Lansing as well as Nassar’s apartment.


Nassar receives osteopathic medical degree from Michigan State University.


As part of a 2016 lawsuit, Olympic medalist Jamie Dantzscher says that she was abused by Nassar beginning when she was 12 years old after she was sent for treatment for lower back pain. Dantzscher says that the abuse occurred over a six-year period.


Nassar is named national medical coordinator for USA Gymnastics ahead of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. In the same year, youth gymnastics coaches John and Kathryn Geddert open Twistars USA Gymnastics Club. John Geddert and Twistars will later be named in a civil lawsuit for allegedly failing to protect children who trained at the gym.

IOP/AFP/Getty Images


Nassar is named gymnastics team physician and assistant professor at Michigan State University.
A parent complains to Geddert about Nassar’s medical treatments, according to a lawsuit filed in 2017. The lawsuit states that Geddert failed to investigate the allegations and continued to recommend Nassar as a doctor to athletes.
Larissa Boyce, a 16-year-old high school student in Williamston, Mich., sees Nassar for treatment after injuring her back at an MSU youth gymnastics program. According to her account shared with the Detroit News in January 2018, she was abused by Nassar during treatment. She recalls telling a coach, who then instructed her to tell Michigan State gymnastics coach Kathie Klages.

“She just couldn’t believe that was happening,” said Boyce, now 37. “She said I must be misunderstanding what was going on.”


Nassar abuses Kyle Stephens, the 6-year-old daughter of a friend, according to court documents. In a 2018 Victim Impact Statement, Stephens details abuse that went on for years and says that Nassar convinced her parents to disregard her earlier accounts.


A Michigan State cross country athlete tells athletic program staff she was sexually assaulted by Nassar while receiving treatment for an injured hamstring, according to her lawsuit filed in 2017. According to the athlete, her concerns were dismissed by a coach who said Nassar was “an Olympic doctor” and “knew what he was doing.”


Michigan State softball player Tiffany Thomas Lopez tells three university athletic trainers and one staff member that Nassar was sexually inappropriate during medical treatments, according to her statements to MLive. According to her 2016 lawsuit, Lopez says she was told that “she was fortunate to receive the best medical care possible from a world-renowned doctor.”
USA Gymnastics member Rachael Denhollander alleges being sexually assaulted by Nassar while receiving treatment for lower back pain. She was 15 years old at the time.
Nassar attends the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney as the U.S. women’s artistic gymnastics team physician.


Nassar solicited and received child pornography, according to an unsealed 2016 federal indictment.
A 17-year-old visits Nassar for treatment for scoliosis. After Nassar abuses the young woman during the visit, she and her mother report the incident to the Meridian Township Police Department. Nassar defends his actions to police as valid medical treatment, using a PowerPoint presentation as supporting evidence. No charges are made. A redacted police report related to the incident was released on Jan. 30, 2017.


Nassar attends the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, once again as the U.S. women’s artistic gymnastics team physician.


Michigan State graduate Amanda Thomashow reports to Dr. Jeff Kovan of the MSU Sports Medicine Clinic that she was sexually assaulted by Nassar during a medical examination to treat a hip injury she sustained in high school. University president Lou Anna K. Simon is made aware of a Title IX complaint, and that a police report had been filed against an unnamed physician.
Nassar continues to treat patients for 16 months during the MSU Police Department investigation. The university investigation did not pass any information to prosecutors until July 2015. In December 2015, a prosecutor tells police that Nassar would not be charged.

Aug. 4, 2016

The Indianapolis Star publishes an ongoing investigation into sexual abuse inside USA Gymnastics, which is the first time the story is learned about by the wider public.

Aug. 5, 2016

The United States Senate writes a letter to USAG president and CEO Steve Penny expressing its concern over the Indianapolis Star report and urging USAG to take immediate steps to report the complaints received and install future safeguards.

“The report details failures by USA Gymnastics to alert authorities of sex abuse allegations against several coaches, despite being notified of serious allegations on numerous occasions. Some allegations were allowed to linger for years before any action was taken, leaving young victims in the supervision of sexual predators.”

Aug. 29, 2016

Denhollander files police complaint against Nassar with Michigan State University police. She alleges that she was sexually assaulted by Nassar in 2000 when she was 15 years old.

Aug. 30, 2016

Nassar is reassigned from all clinical duties at Michigan State University.

Sept. 8, 2016
The first-known accuser files a civil suit against Nassar, alleging abuse from 1994-2000.
Sept. 12, 2016

Denhollander and an unnamed Olympic medal-winning gymnast speak with the Indianapolis Star to tell their stories and allegations of abuse by Nassar while competing.
In response to the Indy Star story, USAG issues a statement indicating that Nassar was “relieved of his duties” in 2015:

Immediately after learning of athlete concerns about Dr. Nassar in the summer of 2015, Steve Penny, president and CEO of USA Gymnastics, notified law enforcement. We also relieved Dr. Nassar of his duties, and he ceased to be affiliated with USA Gymnastics. USA Gymnastics has cooperated fully with the law enforcement agency since we first notified them of the matter, including – at their request – refraining from making further statements or taking any other action that might interfere with the agency’s investigation. We are grateful to the athletes for coming forward to share their concerns when they did.

Shortly after the USAG statement, Nassar’s lawyer issued a response to the Indy Star indicating that his client was never “relieved of his duties,” but that he retired.
Sept. 20, 2016

Michigan State fires Nassar. In a statement to the Lansing State Journal the school says:

“Over the past week, the university received additional information that raised serious concerns about Nassar’s compliance with certain employment requirements.”

Nov. 22, 2016

Nassar is charged with three counts of first degree criminal sexual abuse. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette reveals during a press conference that roughly 50 complaints have been received during his office’s investigation into Nassar.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Schuette said, via the Lansing State Journal.
Dec. 16, 2016

In a separate case, Nassar is indicted on federal child pornography charges.

Jan. 10, 2017

Eighteen women file a lawsuit in federal court against Nassar, Michigan State, USA Gymnastics, and Twistars Gymnastics Club. The suit includes sexual assault allegations against Nassar ranging from 1996 through 2016, and it claims that more women were exposed to his predation due to the inaction of the institutions named during those years.

Jan. 24, 2017

The state of Michigan suspends Nassar’s medical license.

Feb. 3, 2017

In a “Letter to the Spartan Community,” Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon outlines the school’s version of events, saying, “MSU has taken a proactive approach to responding to this situation.”

Feb. 13, 2017

Michigan State gymnastics coach Kathie Klages is suspended after court records show two women say she discouraged them from filing sexual assault complaints against Nassar in the late 1990s. Klages retires from Michigan State the following day.

Feb. 22, 2017

Nassar faces an additional 22 charges of sexual assault. The first-degree criminal sexual conduct charges relate to Nassar’s work at Michigan State University’s Sports Medicine clinic and Twistars Gymnastics Club. The total number of complaints is now more than 80.

“This guy is a monster,” says Michigan AG Bill Schuette during a press conference, via the Lansing State Journal.
April 13, 2017

Simon updates Michigan State’s board of trustees on the investigation, saying:

“I have been told it is virtually impossible to stop a determined sexual predator and pedophile, that they will go to incomprehensible lengths to keep what they do in the shadows. That may be true, but we at MSU must do all we can not only to ensure the safety of our patients but to protect youth who come to our campus in all capacities. As part of a broader programmatic effort that began in 2013, we recently held a workshop for all MSU youth program directors that focused on promoting the safety of minors at MSU, and we will roll out an enhanced youth protection policy and additional education within the next 30 days.”

June 30, 2017

Twenty-three more women and girls join a federal lawsuit against Nassar. There are now over 100 complaints against him.

July 11, 2017

Nassar pleads guilty to child pornography charges in a Michigan federal court.

Oct. 18, 2017

2012 Olympic medalist McKayla Maroney alleges she was abused by Nassar and explains what happened as part of a #MeToo post on Twitter.

Fall, 2017

, saying they acted in “good faith” and went “above and beyond” in meeting standards set by federal officials.

Nov. 10, 2017

2012 and 2016 Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman alleges she was abused by Nassar as well.

Three-time Olympic gold medalist, Aly Raisman, tells she was sexually abused by a U.S. national team doctor. , Sunday.
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes)

Nov. 20, 2017

Nassar pleads guilty to seven counts of first-degree criminal sexual misconduct in Ingham County Circuit Court as part of a plea agreement.

Nov. 21, 2017

2012 and 2016 Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas alleges she too was abused by Nassar.

please hear my heart
A post shared by Gabby Douglas (@gabbycvdouglas) on Nov 21, 2017 at 12:16pm PST

Nov. 29, 2017

Nassar pleads guilty to three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct in Eaton County Circuit Court as part of plea agreement.

Dec. 7, 2017

Nassar is sentenced to 60 years in prison on federal child pornography charges.

Dec. 20, 2017

A lawsuit filed on McKayla Maroney’s behalf says that USA Gymnastics paid her to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) in late 2016 so she wouldn’t talk about abuse by Nassar. “They were willing to engage in a systematic cover-up of the entire matter,” Maroney’s attorney, John Manly, told ESPN.

Jan. 10, 2018

Raisman says USAG is “100 percent responsible” for the abuse by Nassar.

Jan. 15, 2018

2016 Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles alleges she is also a survivor of Nassar’s abuse.

Jan. 16-24, 2018

156 women read Victim Impact Statements during a eight-day sentencing hearing for Nassar in Ingham County Circuit Court in Michigan. Kyle Stephens opened the testimony with a powerful account of abuse by Nassar beginning in 1998 when she was 6 years old:

“You used my body for six years, for your own sexual gratification. That is unforgivable. I’ve been coming for you for a long time. I told counselors your name in the hopes they would report you. I have reported you to child protective services twice. I gave a testament to get your medical license revoked. You were first arrested on my charges, and now, as the only non-medical victim to come forward, I testify to let the world know that you are a repulsive liar. And that those “treatments” were pathetically veiled sexual abuse. Perhaps you have figured it out by now, but little girls don’t stay little forever. They grow into strong women that return to destroy your world.”

Jan. 19, 2018

Michigan State’s Board of Trustees sends a letter to AG Bill Schuette requesting an investigation of the university’s handling of the allegations against Nassar.

“After watching many of these heartbreaking statements and reading accounts about them, we have concluded that only a review by your office can resolve the questions in a way that the victims, their families, and the public will deem satisfactory and that will help all those affected by Nassar’s horrible crimes to heal.”

Amid calls for the resignation of MSU president Lou Anna K. Simon, the university’s Board of Trustees chairman Brian Breslin issues a statement of support for the embattled administrator:

“Through this terrible situation, the university has been perceived as tone deaf, unresponsive and insensitive to the victims. We understand the public’s faith has been shaken. The Board has listened and heard the victims. Today, the Board acted and has asked the Attorney General’s Office to review the facts in this matter, and as information is presented, the Board will act. This can never happen again. As part of the Board’s oversight authority, we will retain independent external assistance to support our responsibilities to the university community and the public at large. We continue to believe President Simon is the right leader for the university and she has our support.”

Jan. 22, 2018

USA Gymnastics announces that its board of directors executive leadership — Chairman Paul Parilla, Vice Chairman Jay Binder & Treasurer Bitsy Kelley — all tendered their resignation, effective Jan. 21, 2018. In a statement, USAG president and CEO Kerry Perry said the following:

“USA Gymnastics thanks Paul Parilla, Jay Binder and Bitsy Kelley for their many years of service to this organization. We support their decisions to resign at this time. We believe this step will allow us to more effectively move forward in implementing change within our organization.
As the board identifies its next chair and fills the vacant board positions, we remain focused on working every day to ensure that our culture, policies and actions reflect our commitment to those we serve.”

A 15-year-old survivor of Nassar testifies in court. There are report the MSU Sports Clinic is still attempting to bill the girl’s family for the appointment. .
USA Gymnastics suspends former U.S. women’s gymnastics national team coach John Geddert on Monday, according to the Lansing State Journal and ESPN. Geddert operated two gyms that worked with trainer Larry Nassar, who has been accused of sexual assaulting more than 150 women over decades associated with USAG and Michigan State University.

USA Gymnastics said in a statement obtained by ESPN:

”John Geddert has been suspended under the interim measures provisions of Section 10.5 of USA Gymnastics’ Bylaws. USA Gymnastics is unable to comment further as this is a pending matter.”

The bylaw under which Geddert is being suspended gives USAG the right to suspend members to “ensure the safety and well-being of the gymnastics community or where an allegation is sufficiently serious that an Adverse Party’s continued participation could be detrimental to the sport or its reputation.”
Jan. 24, 2018

Judge Rosemarie Aquilina on seven counts of criminal sexual assault. During sentencing Judge Aquilina states that her sentence will begin after Nassar completed his 60-year federal sentence for child pornography, saying:

“I find that you don’t get it. That you are a danger. You remain a danger. I am a judge who believes in life and rehabilitation, when rehabilitation is possible. I have many defendants come back and show me the great things they’ve done in their lives after probation, after parole. I don’t find that’s possible with you.”

The U.S. Olympic Committee publishes an open letter to its athletes outlining four next steps — including a turnover of leadership in USA Gymnastics — to be taken in the aftermath of the Nassar case.

We Must Change the Culture of the Sport
We Must Change the Governance Structure of the NGB
We Must Know Who Knew What and When
We Must Support Safe Sport Victims and Survivors

Read the full USOC letter HERE.

MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon resigns from her position hours after the Nassar sentencing hearing is completed. The resignation comes amid growing calls for her to step down.

As tragedies are politicized, blame is inevitable. As president, it is only natural that I am the focus of this anger. I understand, and that is why I have limited my personal statements. Throughout my career, I have worked very hard to put Team MSU first. Throughout my career, I have consistently and persistently spoken and worked on behalf of Team MSU. I have tried to make it not about me. I urge those who have supported my work to understand that I cannot make it about me now. Therefore, I am tendering my resignation as president according to the terms of my employment agreement.

Read her full resignation letter HERE.
Jan. 25, 2018

U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scot Blackmun writes a letter to USAG indicating that it will be decertified as the sport’s national governing body if it fails to meet six conditions by specified dates. Prominent among the conditions is the resignation by the USAG board of directors by Jan. 31.

“We do not base these requirements on any knowledge that any individual USAG staff or board members had a role in fostering or obscuring Nassar’s actions,” Blackmun write. “Our position comes from a clear sense that USAG culture needs fundamental rebuilding.”
Read the full USOC letter HERE.
In a statement posted to its website along with a copy of the USOC letter, USAG indicates that it “completely embraces the requirements.”
Jan. 26, 2018

Michigan State Athletic Director Mark Hollis announces his retirement. He had been MSU’s AD since January 2008. In a statement, he expresses his willingness to cooperate with ongoing investigations.

“Our campus, and beyond, has been attacked by evil, an individual who broke trust and so much more. As a campus community, we must do everything we can to ensure this never happens again; to make sure any sexual assault never occurs. But to do so, we must listen and learn lessons. Only then can we truly begin the process of healing. I have tried to do this since first learning about the abuse in September 2016.”

Read the complete statement HERE.
Jan. 31, 2018

A sentencing hearing for Nassar begins in Eaton County Circuit Court in Michigan, where he pleaded guilty to three counts of criminal sexual conduct in November. At least 65 women are expected to testify in court or submit statements, according to The Detroit News.
USA Gymnastics announces the resignations of all members of its Board of Directors. The official statement comes on the deadline previously set by the United States Olympic Committee to avoid decertification as the sports national governing body.

We are in the process of moving forward with forming an interim Board of Directors during the month of February, in accordance with the USOC’s requirements. USA Gymnastics will provide information about this process within the next few days.
USA Gymnastics embraces not only the changes necessary as called for by the USOC and the Deborah Daniels report, but we also will hold the organization to the highest standards of care and safety in further developing a culture of empowerment for our athletes and members.

Read the complete statement HERE.

Michigan State University’s Board of Trustees unanimously votes to appoint former Michigan Governor John Engler as interim president of the university. Engler, an MSU graduate, will assume his duties Feb. 5.

“As the father of three daughters who just completed their undergraduate degrees, I put myself in the place of every parent who has sent their loved one to this great institution,” Engler said in a statement releaed by MSU. “I understand the concern and uncertainty as well as the frustration and anger. To those parents, be assured that I will move forward as if my own daughters were on this campus and will treat every student as I would my own daughters.”
Read MSU’s complete announcement HERE.
Feb. 5, 2018

Judge Janice Cunningham sentences Larry Nassar to 40 to 125 years in prison on three charges of criminal sexual misconduct in Eaton County Court. The Eaton County case involves sexual assaults at Twistars Gymnastics Club.

Feb. 28, 2018

Scott Blackmun announces his resignation as CEO of the U.S. Olympic Committee. The 60-year-old, who did not attend the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea with Team USA, cited health problems as the reason for his departure. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in January.
The USOC announces new reforms and initiatives in response to abuses of Larry Nassar, including providing funding and resources for support and counseling for gymnasts impacted.

Read complete USOC announcement HERE.
Mar. 27, 2018

William Strampel, Nassar’s former boss and former dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Michigan State is arrested for felony misconduct in office and fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, along with two counts of willful neglect of duty. Court affidavits outline how he groped and harrassed students, possessed pornography containing images of students and reported details to Nassar during the school’s Title IX investigation into him in 2014.

Apr. 13, 2018

A Nassar survivor spoke at a Michigan State University board meeting and outlined how interim president, former governor John Engler, attempted to coerce her to take a settlement and drop he civil case against the school. In addition, the survivor alleges that Engler lied to her about Rachel Denhollander accepting a buyout.

Gasps and outrage in the board room today when a Nassar survivor describes in great detail how she says MSU Interim President John Engler attempted to coerce her into settling her case against the university. Listen:
— Kellie Rowe (@kellierowe)

May 1, 2018

Former USA Gymnastics coaches Bela and Martha Karolyi file a lawsuit against USA Gymnastics asking over $1 million in damages for failing to honor a lease agreement, and for not living up to a promise that USA Gymnastics would “wrap their arms” around the Karolyis to prevent fallout from the Larry Nassar trial.

May 16, 2018

Michigan State agrees to a $500M settlement with survivors who filed a class action lawsuit against the university for failing to protect them from Larry Nassar.

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Michigan State reaches $500m settlement with survivors of Larry Nassar abuse | Sport

Michigan State University announced on Wednesday a $500m settlement with more than 300 women and girls who said they were sexually assaulted by disgraced physician Larry Nassar in the worst sex-abuse case in US sports history.
The Lansing university has agreed to pay $425m to current claimants with $75m set aside in a trust fund for future claims following private mediated negotiations between the school and lawyers for the 332 victims.

The settlement only pertains to accusations against Michigan State, where Nassar taught and practiced medicine from 1997 until 2016 and where much of the abuse took place. It does not extend to pending civil suits against the individuals and institutions that allegedly enabled or were negligent in preventing Nassar’s abuse, including USA Gymnastics, the United States Olympic Committee, Twistars Gymnastics Club and gymnastics coaches Bela and Martha Karolyi.
“This historic settlement came about through the bravery of more than 300 women and girls who had the courage to stand up and refuse to be silenced,” lead attorney John Manly said in a statement.
He added: “It is the sincere hope of all of the survivors that the legacy of this settlement will be far reaching institutional reform that will end the threat of sexual assault in sports, schools and throughout our society.”
Michigan State has been accused of failing to properly investigate complaints about Nassar through the years to coaches, counselors, police and university-employed trainers, some of which allegedly dated back to the 1990s. Outcry over the case prompted the resignation of university president Lou Anna Simon and the abrupt retirement of athletic director Mark Hollis.
“We are truly sorry to all the survivors and their families for what they have been through, and we admire the courage it has taken to tell their stories,” said Brian Breslin, chairman of Michigan State’s governing board. “We recognize the need for change on our campus and in our community around sexual assault awareness and prevention.”
Nassar pleaded guilty in a series of trials to molesting women and girls under the guise of medical treatment. He was also found to have possessed child abuse images and is serving what is effectively a life sentence in prison.
A Title IX investigation conducted by Michigan State cleared Nassar of sexual assault allegations in 2014. The doctor continued to treat athletes on campus for 16 months while university police conducted a criminal investigation that ended with the local prosecutor declining to bring charges.
Michigan attorney general Bill Schuette has appointed an independent prosecutor to investigate who at the university knew what, when they knew it and what they did about it.
Former gymnast Rachael Denhollander was the first woman to come forward publicly with accusations of Nassar, with co-accuser Jamie Dantzscher, a 2000 Olympic bronze medalist, disclosing her identity months later.
Over time hundreds more were encouraged to break their silence, among them household names like Olympic gold medalists Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber.
ESPN announced on Wednesday the hundreds of survivors will receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2018 ESPY awards. Past winners of the honor include Muhammad Ali, Nelson Mandela and Billie Jean King. Last year, Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver was honored posthumously.

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Fujifilm Instax SQ6 Review – First Impressions

First Impressions
We attended the UK launch party for the new Fujifilm Instax SQ6 instant film camera. Ahead of our full review, here are our detailed first impressions of using Fujifilm’s first instant analogue camera to use the square Instax film.
Fujifilm’s new Instax SQ6 is the company’s first instant analogue camera to use the square Instax film. Although the SQ10 also uses it, the SQ10 is basically a digital camera with an inbuilt printer, whereas the SQ6 is a completely analogue camera.
It features a fixed aperture, fixed focal length lens, with fully automatic operation. It takes 2x CR2 batteries, with an estimated battery life of 30 film packs (300 shots).
Ease of Use

As an instant camera, the SQ6 is reasonably large – it’s reasonably close in size to the SQ10, but it’s a little lighter. While you’re certainly not going to be able to squeeze this in your pocket, when switched off, you can happily fit it into a small bag or similar.
When you switch on the camera, the front lens elements extends from the body of the camera – a switch on the top of the camera can be used to switch it on and off.
Loading Instax film is very easy – all you need to do is open the rear door and line-up the yellow mark on the film pack with a reasonably obvious notch on the camera body. Once you’re ready, close the film door – you’ll need to fire off the shutter release to eject the film pack’s protective film first and you’re good to go.

Although the camera is pretty much fully automatic, there are a few different shooting modes which you can choose between. In order to do so, you can press the Mode button on the back of the camera – you’ll see a series of icons at the top of the camera which have an LED indicator to show you which mode you’re shooting in.
Here you’ll find A (automatic), selfie mode, macro mode, landscape mode, double exposure, darken and lighten. These are mostly self-explanatory – selfie and macro appear to be pretty much the same mode, while darken and lighten changes the exposure by around 2/3 of a stop either way.
A couple of other buttons of note are the timer button and the flash button. The timer gives you 10 seconds to compose yourself – a mirror on the front of the camera helps to ensure you (and your friends) are in shot. Meanwhile, the flash button simply turns the flash off – the flash is on by default, with Fuji recommending that it be left on in most cases, especially indoors. The flash itself is accompanied by a set of three coloured plastic “gels” which simply slot over the top of the flash – if using these, it’s recommended that you up the brightness setting a little.

To compose your image, you can use the small finder on the top right hand corner of the camera. This is useful when you’re photographing a subject at least a couple of metres away. A circle which is visible in the viewfinder helps you to get a good idea of what will be in the frame, but  as is pretty much always the case with instant photography, it’s a little bit of trial and error figuring out what is likely to be in the shot and what isn’t – especially when you’re shooting close-up.
When you’re ready to take a shot, the shutter release button is on the front of the camera and requires a fairly firm press. The image will pop out of the slot at the top – it takes roughly 90 seconds for the image to start appearing, with it developing fully over the next few minutes.
Image Quality

So far we’ve had a brief opportunity to use the Instax SQ6 at the launch event, which took place in an underground venue (with harsh lighting). Despite this, the SQ6 produced some fun shots with vibrant colours and more than enough detail for the size of the Instax print.
Image quality from an Instax camera is never about perfection, but more the fun and quirky nature of analogue shooting coupled with instant film. You don’t get a chance to make sure your image is composed perfectly, or the exposure is spot on – but you might argue that’s part of the fun.
Early Verdict
Although not the first instant camera to use the square Instax camera (the Lomography Lomo’Instant Square also uses it), the SQ6 arguably the easiest to use (and perhaps most stylish, depending on your point of view).
Instax has already proved very popular with consumers – Fujifilm says that 30 million units were sold last year – and we can see this one also being very popular. The square shape film gives you more space to work with than Instax Mini, and while it’s still expensive to run, feels a little bit more like value for money.
We’re looking forward to giving it a proper test as soon as possible, stay tuned!

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Michigan State to pay $500M to survivors of abuse by Larry Nassar

Over 300 survivors are a part of the settlement.
Michigan State University reached a $500 million settlement with hundreds of women who filed civil lawsuits stemming from sexual assaults by Larry Nassar. The agreement announced on Wednesday by the university and lawyers of the survivors includes $425 million to paid out now with $75 million being held in reserve in case other Nassar victims come forward, according to the Detroit Free Press.
”There will be no confidentiality agreements or non-disclosure agreements attached to the settlement,” according to a joint press release from the survivors and the university obtained by The Associated Press. “Additionally, the parties must act to address items necessary to finalize the agreement. The settlement applies to only Michigan State University and MSU individuals sued in the litigation. It does not address claims against USA gymnastics, the United States Olympic Committee, Bela and Martha Karolyi, Twistars, John Geddert or any other parties.”
Nassar was sentenced to 60 years in prison after pleading guilty to federal child pornography charges in 2017. He was then sentenced to up to 300 years in prison in Michigan courts in early 2018 after pleading guilty to 10 counts of criminal sexual misconduct. More than 200 women and girls stepped forward to accuse him of abuse committed throughout his 30-year career as a doctor for USA Gymnastics and at Michigan State University. A full timeline of how the case unfolded can be found here.
”I don’t think they can ever be made whole, but this is a step in the right direction,” attorney Jamie White, who represented the survivors in a class action suit against Michigan State told the Detroit Free Press.
It remains unclear how MSU will pay the settlement. According to the Detroit Free Press, interim MSU president John Engler has previously said that any settlements would be paid by tuition and state aid. Local lawmakers have pushed back on the concept that any taxpayer money should be used to help bail out the university in the wake of the sexual assault scandal.
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Samsung Galaxy S9 LONG Term Review: 3 Months In… And I Still Kinda Dig It

Damien McFerran

16/05/2018 – 1:46pm

It's been almost three months now… and I'm still pretty impressed with the Galaxy S9.

It’s fair to say that we’ve become a little numb to smartphones.
Unless a new device has a truly groundbreaking and unusual feature, it’s seen as boring or dull; everything from megapixel cameras to 18:9 screens has come and gone over the past decade, and it only seems to take 12 months for the allure of a new element to become stale and ordinary.
Many have suggested that because the Galaxy S9 looks so similar to its forerunner and doesn’t offer any massive technological advancements, it’s not worth getting excited about – but for me, refinement is often preferable to needlessly chasing the “next big thing”.
That’s not to say that Samsung hasn’t tried with the S9; the camera’s variable aperture system is genuinely clever, even if I’m not entirely convinced it will become as commonplace as the fingerprint scanner or waterproofing bodywork.
However, looking beyond this element, the phone doesn’t really do a lot to distance itself from its immediate forerunner; the design is almost identical, save for the placement of the fingerprint scanner; placed side-by-side, it’s genuinely tricky to tell the S9 apart from last year’s S8.
For any self-respecting mobile buyer, that’s a grave mistake – how will all your mates know you’ve upgraded if it looks like a dead ringer (no pun intended) for last year’s phone?
Despite these first-world problems, I’ve fallen a little bit in love with the S9. Sure, it’s not a revolution, but not every major phone launch has to be; in fact, as we’ve seen in recent years, chasing such an ideal can lead to unforeseen problems.
Better Than The iPhone X? Yeah, In Some Respects…
The iPhone X, as gorgeous as it unquestionably is, still feels like a half-finished product to me; although the opposite has been said by Apple’s employees, I’m almost certain that the company wanted it to ship with an in-screen fingerprint scanner to back up the occasionally temperamental Face ID system, but the tech simply wasn’t ready.
And what about the debacle with the Galaxy Note 7, where Samsung tried to push the boundaries of smartphone battery stamina and ended up with flaming phones on its hands?
You have to feel a little sorry for the guys and gals within the walls of Apple and Samsung who have the ultimately thankless task of dreaming up the headline-stealing features for a new phone every 12 months.
It’s clear now that these companies are running out of ideas and that’s when mistakes happen; technological dead-ends which are heralded as the next big thing before being quietly dropped in less than a year when the real next big thing comes along.
Samsung may have had a cheeky stab at marketing the S9’s camera as a game-changer, but the rest of the phone is all about making last year’s model even better, and it is here that it has succeeded.
The eye-catching design is enhanced by slightly smaller bezels and a more sensibly-located fingerprint scanner, but it remains mostly unchanged – which is no bad thing, as the S8 was designed by a company at the top of its aesthetic game.
Galaxy S9 Display Is Still The Best Around. Period
The display remains industry-leading and is even brighter this time around. The processor is naturally faster, and even the much-maligned AI assistant Bixby has a few more tricks up its sleeve (although you sadly still can’t assign another function to that Bixby hardware button).
Sometimes, looking for the next breakthrough can lead companies to ignore the fact that they need to make phones which are easy to use, powerful, stable and – most importantly of all – actually make our everyday lives that little bit easier to stomach.
After spending almost a month in the company of the S9 I think it’s a handset that does all of that and more, without introducing new features which are half-baked at best and borderline broken at worst. S
ure, the S10 will no doubt see normal service resumed – we’re already hearing talk of an in-screen fingerprint scanner and Face ID-style scanning tech – but for the time being I’m happy that Samsung has polished its flagship device, rather than completely overhaul it in the name of progress.

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HTC is planning to build a blockchain-powered smartphone

HTC is planning to build a new blockchain-powered phone featuring a built-in cryptocurrency wallet.
The touted Android device, known as Exodus, will come packaged with a universal wallet and hardware support for all major cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, as well as featuring decentralised applications.
Taiwanese manufacturer HTC is aiming to sync its Exodus devices to a native blockchain network, with each device acting as nodes, enabling cryptocurrency trading among users with ease.
Head HTC’s business and corporate development Phil Chen, who founded the company’s virtual reality system Vive, outlined these plans in an interview with The Next Web, also providing provisional schematics.
“Through Exodus, we are excited to be supporting underlying protocols such as Bitcoin, Lightning Networks, Ethereum, Dfinity, and more,” Chen said. “We would like to support the entire blockchain ecosystem, and in the next few months we’ll be announcing many more exciting partnerships together.”
HTC’s latest innovation follows in the footsteps of electronic manufacturing giant Foxconn, which last month announced it had agreed to build a blockchain-powered device developed by Sirin Labs.
The Finney, which is expected to ship in October, features a ‘cold storage’ crypto wallet, enabled via a physical switch, that, when flicked, immediately turns off all unencrypted communications – meaning the crypto wallet will be offline unless deliberately activated.
HTC’s announcement continues a recent trend of companies taking up blockchain technology in a bid to refresh and enhance their products and services – with a range of sectors, from finance to automotive, indulging in the new technology’s appeal.
Automakers such as BMW, Ford, Groupe Renault and General Motors, for instance, earlier this month came together to form a consortium that will explore how blockchain can reinvent mobility and address industry shifts.
But KPMG, meanwhile, believes blockchain still remains in the “hype stage” with results not expected till at least 2019 at the earliest.
Speaking to in February, KPMG head of tech growth Patrick Imbach said: “I’m not sure actually whether some sort of tangible use-cases and commercial models based on blockchain technologies will evolve over the next months.
“We’re still a little bit early in that process, I wouldn’t expect any exciting commercial opportunities to arise in large numbers any time soon – in the UK, particularly.”
The use and exchange of cryptocurrencies have been largely unregulated to date – but a handful of regulatory bodies have indicated plans to provide some oversight on trading in future, with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) last month announcing its intention to launch a regulatory review of cryptocurrencies.

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Best iPad mini cases 2018: Save your iPad mini from scratches and cracks

The iPad mini 4 has been around for a good few years now, but it’s still the best small tablet on the market. If you’re the proud owner of one, and wish to remain so, you won’t want it to get scratched or cracked – nor shattered, waterlogged otherwise compromised.

Read next: Apple iPad mini 4 review

In short, you’ll want to equip your tablet with a suitable protective case. Here’s our pick of the very best cases money can buy; we’ve focused on the iPad mini 4, but If you’re still using an older iPad mini then many of the manufacturers listed below also make cases for previous models.
And if you’re waiting for the iPad mini 5 – well, then, don’t hold your breath. Right now it doesn’t even have a release date, but you can read all about the rumours right here.
Best iPad mini cases from £8
1. Apple Smart Cover for iPad mini 4: Best official Apple case
Price: £24 | Buy now from Amazon

If you’re a die-hard Apple loyalist, this is the iPad case for you. The Smart Cover is considered the best of Apple’s first-party cases, thanks to its attractive appearance and functional simplicity. Its snap-on, snap-off mechanism is easy to attach and remove, and protects the screen when not in use. Your iPad mini will also wake up when you open the cover, and automatically go to sleep when it’s shut. Hence the “Smart”, we suppose.  
Then, of course, there’s the cover’s real party trick – it folds into several different positions, so you can prop up your iPad mini at an angle, making it easy to enjoy videos. Amazon is selling the Smart Cover for a reasonable £24, although if you’re really committed to Cupertino you can pick one up at the Apple store for £39.
2. Griffin Survivor All-Terrain Case for iPad mini 4: Toughest overall iPad mini case
Price: £37.50  | Buy now from Amazon

Some iPad users buy multiple cases to suit different purposes – but if you just want one, the Griffin Survivor will do the job whether you’re sat at home reading an e-mag or watching Netflix in a warzone.
Its military-standard protection is certified to guard your iPad against damage from scratches, drops, water, dust, vibrations, and other extreme environmental hazards. With four layers, including a built-in screen protector, shatter-resistant polycarbonate and shock absorbing silicone, there’s not much this hardcore case can’t handle – and it doesn’t look bad either, in a rugged sort of way.
3. Cooper Dynam Kidproof Case for iPad mini 4: Best case for children
Price: £15 | Buy now from Amazon

Children love iPads – but if you’re considering letting the kids loose on your £320 tablet, you need to be certain they won’t shatter the screen playing frisbee with it. Enter the Cooper Dynam Kidproof Case.
Available in six eye-catching crayon colours, this durable rubberised enclosure features EVA foam for great shock absorbency – and it also happens to be toxin-free, so there’s no need to fear if your toddler gets a bit peckish halfway through Peppa Pig.
There’s also a nifty fold-down handle which can be used to carry or prop up the tablet, and a self-applied clear screen protector. Cooper Dynam claims that these one-piece iPad mini cases are indestructible – and we’re sure your kids will happily put that to the test.
4. JETech Case for iPad mini 4: Best case for under £10
Price: £8 | Buy now from Amazon

This JETech case is one of the cheapest cases you can buy – which is perhaps one reason why it’s the number one choice on Amazon. It’s the quality that really impresses, though. While the JETech costs a lot less than the official Apple Smart Cover, it’s similar in style and function, with an automatic wake/sleep feature, a tri-fold free-standing cover and protective hard shell bumpers. It even comes with a lifetime warranty, so you don’t have to worry about build quality. An absolute steal.
5. KHOMO Dual Carbon Fibre Case for iPad mini 4: Best dual cover case
Price: £15 | Buy now from Amazon

This chic carbon-fibre case may not be quite as rugged as the Griffin, but it’s ideal for everyday use around the house, and tough enough for travelling. It’s ultra-slim, coated in scratch-free rubber, and available in no fewer than 15 eye-catching colours.
The rear provides a non-slip grip with added drop protection, while the front cover seals magnetically to prevent accidental opening. The front can also be folded at two different angles, for typing or watching video, and there’s a wake/sleep function too. You might also appreciate the clever “Sound Boost” feature, which uses cut-outs in the case to reflect the sound from the iPad mini 4’s speakers directly at you, enhancing the perceived audio volume.
6. Otterbox Symmetry Series Folio Case for iPad mini 4: Most stylish folio case
Price: £23 | Buy now from Amazon

Otterbox is well known for its stylish but sturdy smartphone case, and it has an attractive range of tablet cases too. The Symmetry Series Folio Case is by far the most elegant case we’ve seen for the iPad mini 4 – it comes in Black Night, Merlot Shadow or Glacier Storm – and it’s also the easiest to use, with a one-piece design that slides on like a glove.
Weighing just 60g and made from flexible polyester-urethane hybrid materials, the Otterbox Symmetry Series Folio isn’t quite as durable as some heftier cases. However, it offers excellent scratch protection and should protect your tablet from odd knocks and drops. It’s best feature is definitely the versatile folding cover stand, which can be set up in portrait or landscape; if you want your iPad mini 4 to travel in style, this is the case to buy.
7. Grovemade Wooden Maple Sleeve for iPad mini 4: Best protective sleeve
Price: £79 | Buy now from Grovemade

This sleeve won’t protect your iPad mini 4 while you’re using it, but it’s perfect for travelling or storing your tablet away when not in use. Slip the unit in and it’s snugly sandwiched in ultra-cushioning premium wool felt – which is in turn encased in an exterior hard shell of laser-cut, hand-polished wood. When you want to use your iPad, you just slide it out using the smart, practical pull-tab.
It’s a truly tough and distinctive sleeve. The downside is that it costs $79 – and you have to ship it from Oregon, which will further add to the cost, and frustrate impatient shoppers accustomed to next-day delivery.
Buy now from Grovemade

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Fortnite Fan Creates Epic Black Panther Villain Skin – Game Rant

As if it needed to be said, one of the breakout performances in this year’s theatrical release of Marvel‘s film Black Panther came from Michael B. Jordan’s portrayal of the villain known as Erik “N’Jadaka” Killmonger, with fans and critics everywhere praising the actor’s grit and intensity. As it so happens, the character seems to have some fans in the world of Fortnite, as one player recently created concept art for a skin based on the figure to potentially be added into Epic Games’ sandbox survival title.

As seen in the image below from the Redditor known as zmandella, Fortnite fans can get a gander at Killmonger in his militaristic garb from the aforementioned superhero movie, with the mock-up also altering the in-game pick-axe to resemble the way one of the villain’s weapons would look. Without a doubt, the model would be a solid fit alongside the other warlike outfits worn by base level avatars found in the hybrid building shooter game.

Interestingly enough, Killmonger isn’t the only Black Panther character to have had his likeness recreated as a potential outfit for use in Epic Games’ Fortnite, as one fan lovingly put together a design for a T’Challa skin that had the movie’s hero and protagonist donning his full-body vibranium micro-weave mesh suit. Unfortunately, though, the concept art has yet to actually find its way into the free-to-play Battle Royale portion of the game.

All things considered, perhaps Fortnite will one day add skins and outfits from various Marvel figures like Black Panther and Killmonger, as Epic Games recently held a limited time crossover event in the title that added an Infinity Gauntlet mode where players could assume the role of Thanos. Of course, we will likely be waiting a while, as the developer will surely need to go through some legal red tape when it comes to acquiring the licenses to represent the comic book characters in the game.

Fortnite is available now in early access for iOS, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
Source: Reddit

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